Ashland University's Eagle Investment Group Adds Third Fund

9/13/10 ASHLAND, OH -- In response to the growth and success of Ashland University's Eagle Investment Group, the University's Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees has granted a third fund for the selected finance majors to manage.

Students in Ashland's Eagle Investment Group were first offered the chance to gain practical experience by managing the University's investments in January of 2000 and have managed a portion of the University's investment portfolio ever since.

In 2008, the Board approved a second fund of $370,000 to add to the initial investment fund of $250,000, and this third fund, named Eagle Financial Fund, will provide an additional $250,000 for the Eagle Investment Group to manage.

"This third fund will be different from the other two because initially we will open it up to alumni and friends as a new vehicle for donations," explained Dr. Thomas Harvey, associate professor of finance and director of the Eagle Investment Group. "The Eagle Investment Group will receive 2.5 percent of the asset value of this fund every year, and we plan to use that to further enhance the educational experiences of the students."

Harvey explained that this money could be used to purchase to additional "trading" software or pay for Wall Street executives and scholars to visit campus to meet with Eagle Investment Group students.

"The number of finance majors has increased and the interest in becoming part of this group has also grown to the point where we felt we needed to add more sophistication to the curriculum in form of alternative investments," he said. "Twelve years ago, we had 12 finance majors. Now, we have 115. I think the success of our Eagle program is the primary reason for the growth in this major."

Harvey said the fund managed by the finance students has consistently outperformed the market. "Over the past five years, the fund showed an 11.93 percent gain, while the Standard and Poor's 500 showed a growth rate of 16.96 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 12.25 percent," he said.

Harvey noted the University requires the Eagle Investment Group to adhere to the same guidelines it does others who manage its financial assets.

"The funds are to be invested with care, skill, prudence and diligence," Harvey said. "The funds are to be diversified to minimize the risk of loss. We're also not allowed to invest in any security which derives its primary source of revenue from gambling, tobacco or alcohol."

The students may invest in cash equivalents, such as treasury bills, certificates of deposit and money market funds; exchange-traded funds; fixed income securities, including corporate notes and bonds, mortgage backed bonds, U.S. government securities and preferred stock; equity securities, such as common stock, convertible preferred stocks, stocks of non-U.S. companies, convertible notes and bonds, and American depository receipts of non-U.S. companies; and mutual funds.

Working with a select group of financial advisory firms, the Group is also learning about the benefits, and shortfalls, of investments in alternative investments.

Each spring, Harvey and the Eagle Investment Group members spend a week in New York City to acquaint the students with the financial capital of the world. They visit the New York Stock Exchange and meet with executives of the Group's Corporate Partners.

"We want our students to be able to walk down Wall Street, as well as Main Street, with anyone," Harvey said. "The New York trip helps them to realize that."

Ashland University (<>) is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.